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Beatrice by H. Rider Haggard

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"Screw yourself up, Bingham, I've something to tell you," he answered
in a thick voice.

"What is it? another disaster, I suppose. Is somebody else dead?"

"Yes; somebody is. Honoria's dead. Burnt to death at the ball."

"Great God! Honoria burnt to death. I had better go----"

"I advise you not, Bingham. I wouldn't go to the hospital if I were
you. Screw yourself up, and if you can, give me something to drink--
I'm about done--I must screw myself up."

And here we may leave this most fortunate and gifted man. Farewell to
Geoffrey Bingham.


Thus, then, did these human atoms work out their destinies, these
little grains of animated dust, blown hither and thither by a breath
which came they knew not whence.

If there be any malicious Principle among the Powers around us that
deigns to find amusement in the futile vagaries of man, well might it
laugh, and laugh again, at the great results of all this scheming, of
all these desires, loves and hates; and if there be any pitiful
Principle, well might it sigh over the infinite pathos of human
helplessness. Owen Davies lost in his own passion; Geoffrey crowned
with prosperity and haunted by undying sorrow; Honoria perishing
wretchedly in her hour of satisfied ambition; Beatrice sacrificing
herself in love and blindness, and thereby casting out her joy.

Oh, if she had been content to humbly trust in the Providence above
her; if she had but left that deed undared for one short week!

But Geoffrey still lived, and the child recovered, after hanging for a
while between life and death, and was left to comfort him. May she
survive to be a happy wife and mother, living under conditions more
favourable to her well-being than those which trampled out the life of
that mistaken woman, the ill-starred, great-souled Beatrice, and broke
her father's heart.

Say--what are we? We are but arrows winged with fears and shot from
darkness into darkness; we are blind leaders of the blind, aimless
beaters of this wintry air; lost travellers by many stony paths ending
in one end. Tell us, you, who have outworn the common tragedy and
passed the narrow way, what lies beyond its gate? You are dumb, or we
cannot hear you speak.

But Beatrice knows to-day!

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